Unionville man earns prestigious golf award

Ted Bishop, PGA President; and Harry Hammond, Jr., Bill Strausbaugh Award recipient, pose during the 2012 PGA of America Awards at the 60th PGA Merchandise Show on January 24, 2013 at The Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.

PGA Master Professional Harry Hammond Jr. of Unionville, Pa., whose service to both members and aspiring PGA Professionals for nearly a half-century follows the spirit of one of the game’s legendary mentors, has been named the recipient of the 2012 Bill Strausbaugh Award.

Hammond, 73, is the PGA director of golf at Penn Oaks Golf Club in West Chester, Pa., and a 49-year member of The PGA of America. He is the third member of the Philadelphia PGA Section to receive the Bill Strausbaugh Award, established in 1979 in tribute to the late Middle Atlantic PGA Master Professional who left an indelible mark in PGA of America history, excelling in both leadership and service to a PGA Section and the Association. Strausbaugh passed away in 1999.

Hammond was honored last week during the 60th PGA Merchandise Show at the Orange County Convention Center’s Chapin Theater in Orlando, Fla.

The program also will honor the following recipients:

• Mike Schultz of Eden Prairie, Minn. – PGA Golf Professional of the Year

• Michael Breed of Greenwich, Conn. – PGA Teacher of the Year

• Don Law of Boca Raton, Fla. – PGA Junior Golf Leader

• Carl Alexander of Bedford, N.Y.– Horton Smith Award

• Mark Holiday of Bozeman, Mont. – PGA Player Development Award

“Our talented 2012 class of national award winners span more than four decades of service to our Association and to the game of golf,” said PGA of America President Allen Wronowski. “They are PGA Professionals of impact to their Section, their respective communities and in many cases they have influenced others throughout the country. We are proud of how they daily go about their business of inspiring young and old, and grow the game through innovation and their passion. By their dedication to serving others, we are proud to declare that they are truly experts in the game and the business of golf.”

Hammond follows John Poole of West Chester, Pa. (1993), and Doug Ritter of Lancaster, Pa. (1997), as the Philadelphia PGA members to receive the national Bill Strausbaugh Award.

“To be recognized for your work is wonderful, but that is not why you do the work,” said Hammond. “The purpose of your efforts is to grow the game, and that has been my effort since I started in golf. I met Bill Strausbaugh and like so many that knew him, found him an exceptional person.”

Born in Upland, Pa., Hammond attended Penn State University with the intent of becoming an engineer, but did not push that career goal for long. When his family moved to Kennett Square, Pa., in 1953, he elected to take up golf at Kennett Square Golf & Country Club, where he caddied and later entered a PGA apprenticeship in 1958 under the late PGA Professional William Palumbo.

Hammond was elected to PGA membership in 1963, first serving as PGA head professional at West Chester Golf and Country Club until 1969.

In 1969, Hammond was named PGA head professional at Whitford Country Club in Exton, Pa., and would spend the next 38 years at that post, training many men and women professionals who went on to successful careers in the industry. He was elected a PGA Master Professional in 1991.

Hammond has been a longtime leader within the Philadelphia PGA Section, serving as president in 1986; as chair from 1993 to 2008 of the Section Junior Golf Committee, a group that he continues to serve. He has served as president of the Greater Philadelphia Section PGA Foundation since its inception in 1999, an organization that contributes to multiple charities, including the Section’s official charity, the Variety Club.

He also is a member of the national Golf 2.0 Growth of the Game Committee. From 2009 through this year, Hammond served on the national PGA Junior Golf Committee, and spent two terms on the PGA Special Awards Committee and the PGA Master Professional Certification Committee. Since 2004, Hammond has been a member of the Section Hall of Fame Committee, and a past member of the Section’s Education, Long Range Planning, Executive Director Search, and Special Awards Committees.

Service to others, says Hammond, keeps him excited about the game’s future. In 2011, the Make-A-Wish Pro-Am committee brought an event to Penn Oaks Golf Club.

“When we finished and raised $35,000 for the Foundation that made for a very special day,” said Hammond. “That pro-am has contributed more than $350,000 to The First Tee of Chester County and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.”

In 2007, Hammond retired from Whitford Country Club, where his son-in-law, Michael Ladden, is its PGA head professional. In ’07, Hammond accepted a head men’s coaching position at West Chester University, an NCAA Division II program. Hammond’s mentorship and coaching expertise was immediately apparent, and he guided the school to the NCAA Regional Championships the past two seasons, and was named the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Coach of the Year for the 2010-2011 seasons.

Prior to his retirement from Whitford Country Club, Hammond entered into a partnership to purchase Penn Oaks Golf Club in West Chester, Pa., where he became a consultant to elevate the club business practices and was named its PGA director of golf in 2008.

“What made the whole effort at Penn Oaks so pleasing was that we were able to have a thriving junior program, and an active on-site membership during difficult economic times,” said Hammond.

Hammond and his wife, Sally, live in Unionville, Pa. They are the parents of a daughter, Laura, a former Penn State University standout and an eight-time Women’s Golf Association of Philadelphia